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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 3, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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and do their own thing. wu >> you can wash this and other programs online at coming up next on booktv, hampton side recounts the assassination of dr. martin luther king jr and profiles his assassin, james earl ray. mr. sides beat il's the seascape from the missouri state penitentiary in 1967 and his travels throughout the south, mexico and los angeles and his assassination of dr. king. the library of philadelphia is the host of this event. it's about an hour.
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[applause] >> thank you. >> it's great to be back. i think that all writers he eventually want to go back to the place they came from. in this case, it was for me to go back to memphis tennessee where i grew up, where it was warm and try to understand this pivotal moment in american history and to try to understand and sort of de construct the most controversial, the most tragic, the most and many ways complicated even in my city's history. my father was a law professor and a lawyer until a law firm in memphis that has represented the garbage workers and represented the team on behalf of the garbage workers and so i've got a lot from him about this event. but you're always sifting your memory of things you wonder was
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the family more correct? did you hear the story correctly? you always want to test your memory against a hard court documents but, you know, coming back to memphis was also the idea of coming back to the place where i came from in terms of literature. the first writer that i ever met growing up in memphis was the great civil war historian from the kingbirds a documentary you may remember, shelby foote. the guy with a beard and a pipe and he looked like a writer, he talked like a writer, he was straight out of central casting and he really gave me some interesting ideas early on in life about what narrative history can be. and what it cannot aspire to be. he of course can to history kind of through the back door, he was a novelist from the mississippi
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delta and late in life trying to make history alive on the page. he thought it could be bowl the way it was written in academic situations and settings and that's certainly what i found when i went off to college at yale and studied history, one of the great heavyweight departments, wonderful historians, wonderful writers, but it could be deadly will dull. i don't really remember the word pleasure ever being used, like effort to describe how reading a history text could be. it was supposed to be like we were historians. historians are people who put on robeson and we would go commune with dead people who can't talk back and very deadly visit, so it took me awhile to go out into the world and learn how to write stories as a journalist before i
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began to see and read people like shelby foote and barbara tuchman and some of the great narrative historians. there's another way to begin. shelby foote, the reason i know shelby foote is that his son, huggie, the names are strange in the deep south, we were in a rock band together, and basically did everything we could do to prevent shall be foote from finishing his 6,000 pages trilogy of the civil war. we were cranking up the jimi hendrix and pink floyd and there may or may not have been slow in the room. i'm not at liberty to say, but we certainly were having a good time and huggie would be latched in some sort of feedback rivalry and shelby would knock on the door and say huggie, turn that racket down. i'm working on mathematics and we were like right, sure.
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of course he was working on mathematics and he was working on this amazing 6,000 page trilogy which took years for me to understand and absorbent commesso coming back to memphis, then this is just this extraordinary city perched on the racial fault line the capitol of the mississippi delta, the capitol of rock-and-roll and blues and of course beals street is there, of course all this, you've got to start there, but it's also one of the very few cities of any size in america that is named after african capital with all of this heavy egyptian mythology around it, so it seems as i grew up and began to think about the king assassination a seemed almost scripted by fate that he would be killed there. this is a man who traveled nonstop for over a decade.
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he could have been killed in anaheim, he could have been killed in akron ohio. he was killed in memphis, the capitol of the blues. so i began to kind of think about that and began to think about how do i make a book here that is and which memphis is a character in which you begin to understand the confluence of things that brought king to memphis, the garbage strike being the most obvious one, the whole background, the whole backdrop of memphis. he had come to memphis really because he was beginning to recruit for this jury ambitious and very controversial campaign called the poor people's campaign in washington. the idea was to take thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of poor people, african-americans but also from other backgrounds to washington and to build this account on the mall two pervvijze multi generational poverty, systemic poverty. was very controversial plan.
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he was getting a lot of criticism, and of course our good friend jay edgar hoover was a jury suspicious and thought it was communism will in some sort of subversive -- but can this sort of made this left turn into memphis when he heard about this garbage strike because it seemed like the perfect local indigenous expression of what he was trying to do in washington. these were garbage workers become almost entirely african-american work force. most of them were former sharecroppers from the mississippi delta. the poorest part of the united states. and it made perfect sense for him to go to memphis and try to represent their cause. even though his staff and inner circle were of the war sclc said this is a trap, you don't want to do this, this is a mistake. you want to go to washington.
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you're making a left turn in memphis. but he said we've got to do this. this is the perfect illustration of what we are trying to do in washington on local scale. so he comes to memphis and marches down buhle street, which those of you who have been tremendous know it's now become the kind of burden st. of furthered the delta. it's certainly overcrowded and overdone now, but it was the classic avenue of black america for over a century and i want to read a whole passage from the book that has to do with the march king and led. it started off well, but things turned right. it became clear that the march was taken over by the young radicals who had different ideas about non-violence, who had different ideas about which way the civil rights movement should go, and because of that, because of the violence that breaks out
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in the looting and rioting and the police sort of crack down on it, because of that, king realizes he's got to come back to memphis yet again to try to sort of reading in himself and his reputation and to prove to the nation he can lead a non-violent march. what this is march 28th, about a week or so before the assassination, and he and his inner circle, abernathy leads in the local minister named lawson are marching down the street, and things are starting to go awry. the march began, king, abernathy, lee and paulson locked arms in the front and began walking as the police helicopters were overhead.
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they left the temple and went down the street for a few blocks jerking and halting trying to find the right pace. then they turned left on to deal, the avenue of the blues. they marched west in the direction of the mississippi river. in the reader no one bothered to form of orderly lines. they were jostling and shoveling sending forward wave after wave of people stumbling and stepping on heels. meek the crowd stopped pushing, he yelled. they are going to be trampled. soon the past the park named for the prosperous band leader and composer who first wrote down the blues and shaped the form into an internationally recognized genre. as it happened, this very day was the tenth anniversary of his death and someone had laid a wreath beside the statute of the blues man standing with his trumpet ready.
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but this was a version of the street the father of the blues had known. had he been alive to see it now, she would have despaired at its fate. in his heyday it was the main street of negro america, a place that deep soul and world class of distance and hoodoos and fortune-teller's was just a band playing on every corner. the st. smelled both pulled pour khanna ward. a day and night for rob with so much authentic and sometimes violent of vitality that it's famous song business never closes until somebody gets killed. for more than a century, blacks from all across the mississippi delta came to him to experience their first taste of city life. workers came from the levy building camps come from a lumber and turpentine camps come from the cotton fields and
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steamboat lines. the only studio photographs of robert johnson to elon deal on the long fingered bluesman posing in a pin-striped suit with his guitar. muddy waters and became king here to play some of their first city digs. the south's first black millionaire, robert church, made his realistic fortune on deal. black doctors, black photographers, black dentists, insurance companies, mortuaries, like newspapers, hotels and restaurants were colored only. african-american pervades as the counterpart to the all white carnival. deal was a place where the concept of separate but equal had more spirited and convincing runs. the records legend thomas once put if you would were black for one saturday night on beale, he would never want to be white again. by the spring of 1968 however
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most agree to clubs and theaters, the palace, the monarchs, the saloon kaine hamdi or boarded up and gone altogether. but it was still reputable business closer to name. much of it had become a drag of busted concrete and liquor stores and pawnshops populated by winos and thieves. the past the statue in a separate with most assuredly not equal. the blues was on its seedbed as was said, the era dead and gone. now a column of proud but anxious man carried signs in the direction of city hall headed for an uncertain future. so this is about a week before the assassination. what happens next to skip ahead
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is a guy named james earl ray wanders into my home town and changes history. i have one some slides that begin to show the evidence against james earl ray and not so much against him as how the fbi and various law in force agencies caught him. it was a 65 day manhunt, and it took some 3,000 agents and many millions of dollars and also to kill law enforcement agencies of canada and mexico and portugal and finally scotland yard that caught him that throw where he was boarding a plane to try to get to rhodesia where he wanted to become a mercenary soldier. this book is largely based on a collection in memphis. there was a cop in memphis who was the dispatcher on duty that night and this event touched his life in a profound way and
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changed him for ever and he decided to vote to the to devote his entire retirement to collecting and do digitizing all the documents he could get from the king assassination from 20,000 documents and counting. i found out about this sort of bye accident. there was a curator in memphis who said there is a god you might want to talk to him he's pretty cool. here is his card. i said some bye named vince. that sounds very -- that's what clinton had and come up with that in my back pocket. but you know, made several trips more and found out that vince was this amazing guy, a scholar and a gentleman who had been assembling all this stuff and he's not pro conspiracy or anticonspiracy, pretty much right on the middle. his ideas used to create the definitive source of website open to the public on the king assassination. so most of these images come from collection and begin to show the kind of how the fbi put
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together this puzzle that ended up in james earl ray's capture. okay. one second. >> there we go. this is a picture of vince roi hughe's police car. these are pictures from the assassination itself. in the famous picture where andy roi young and the others are
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pointing, the policemen come to the back on south main and come to this place, apartment rooms for rent which is devotee's house on main. they go up the stairs but before they do, they find that there is a bundle that has been left here in front of a jukebox called quote knight's amusement store where they assembled and sold jukeboxes. the police and goes up the stairs into this room where supposedly this person named john willard had been staying in room 5b. what is noticeable about this photograph is that on the sofa and also on the floor there is a strap which they don't know what it is, the kind of put that on the back burner but the leader find that it attaches to a pair of binoculars that had been purchased. the notice that in room 5b the
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windows open, the furniture had been moved from the window, and a chair was set in front of the window. someone had been looking towards the motel. obviously the shot hadn't come from there but it was a kind of nest for surveillance. the people said the shah had come from the communal bathroom down the halls of the count the window was open and that the shot was at the ankle direct from the communal bathroom. the screen had been pried loose from their groove and they found that just below. and the shohet most likely been fired from someone standing in the bathtub. they found a hand print on wall where if you're standing in the bathtub you would need to kind of lean against the wall and that's the crime scene photograph of the hand print the was raised with certain
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chemicals. so now they are trying to figure out okay what is the deal with this bundle? why would someone please a bundle that has a gun, scope, ammunition and all kind of other artifacts? but it became apparent why. as he was heading down the sidewalk here is the white mustang that was spotted by numerous people there was a cop car as you can see right there that was visible and he realized he had this in his hand he was caught with a murder weapon so he had to get rid of it in a hurry even though that seemed like a pretty stupid move. so he did, and the folks that were in the knight's music company solve a white mustang head north on maine and solve this one will and didn't serve investigate what is in this bundle? the released pretty quickly that everything they needed to solve this case was in the bundle.
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these were some of the artifacts that were in this little suitcase that was toppled in a bedspread. a lot of toiletries, a pair of binoculars and other things including cream and a newspaper from april 4th that very day, and that article he challenges restraint. if you read the whole article and jump to the inside, it talks about how federal marshals had presented injunction against king, not to march on the street and follow-up march. and that injunction had been presented at the motel. so it said right there in the front page article king and his entourage were staying at the lorain since public knowledge. it also mentioned in showed a photograph in the background if you look closely you can see the room number, 306. so it was in the public records.
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they also found in new the unbundle these binoculars which they realized that in just purchased two hours earlier at york arms sporting goods store. york arms is the place i bought my first baseball mitt and was a basic sporting goods store in memphis. i live in santa fe now -- but in memphis, and it's where i bought my first mitt. they also found in this bundle a transition retial, channel master radio which is significant only because on the radio they found a number which they were not sure what to make of it. it looked like it had been tampered with. , the kind of for able to decipher it and it was 00416, some sort of aftermarket number.
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the set that aside and we will come back to that leader but it's one of the puzzles they were trying to figure out early on. also a beer can that had been purchased in mississippi a couple of days earlier that had a very good fingerprint on it. the gun which was a 30 of salary six, and going off the gun and the serial number on the gun they were able to trace the weapon to this place, the era marine sporting goods store in birmingham alabama. where they found out the gun had been purchased just one week earlier by the guy that called himself harvey lowmeyer. he had come in trying to buy a smaller weapon and then he came back the next day on march 29th saying no, actually my brother says we are going hunting up in wisconsin and need a much more powerful weapon. we need a 30-6 and this is the
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weapon handed up purchasing. also in the bundle was this year of lawyers that had a little identification tag that said rompages which led the fbi several thousand miles to the west to los angeles to this hardware store, rompages, that suggests, they had sold that. so now they're looking all over the country, looking at memphis, birmingham, now they're looking los angeles. also in the bundle was despair of under shorts which is important really only because of the number right above the ruler, 02b6 which was a laundry tag number that they found out through some inquiries was a kind of new technology called a thermal seal tape company out of syracuse new york and also on an undershirt zero tooby six. they said that most of their machines sold out in california
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mostly in los angeles, so that led them to this laundry in los angeles and they found out that yes, indeed, the gentleman by the name of eric gault had been taking his laundry there once a week for several months before the assassination. so now they are looking for a guy named john willard but they're also looking for the guy named harvey lowmeyer, and now they are looking for a guy named eric galt, 02b6. it had an address, this is where he was staying shortly before the assassination. the town of that through the mail he had been writing letters from this address and this was the letter that he wrote to a group called the friends of rhodesia he was trying to emigrate to rhodesia most likely because they didn't have an extradition treaty with the united states will.
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they also found this guy had eric galt was into dancing. he took dancing lessons. he was particularly interested in the fox trot and the cha cha, and they began to get descriptions of the sky, eric galt come from people who danced with him and various instructors. it was a place called the national dance studio. folks there said he couldn't believe cope with a dance lessons because he said he needed to save up money for bartending school. bartending school? so they start canvassing all of the bartending schools in california and a right that this place, the international school of bartending, and there they find out that yes, indeed, the guy named eric s. galt had taken some lessons. during the course he memorized some 200 recipes for cocktails, but they are wondering what can you tell us about this guy? what does he look like? and the guy that ran this place,
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thomas, said well, that's easy. every marriage with of our school this photographed with his diploma and a tuxedo. so, we can show you what he looks like. this is what he looked like. so now we have a photograph of this guy come eric galt, except one thing, his eyes are closed. they aren't exactly sure what he looks like this is their first image of the guy that the 3,000 fbi agents are now looking for. also the found out that eric galt on march 18th, had put in a change of address forms from his place in los angeles to atlanta general delivery and had moved there. eric galt had no connection to atlanta as far as we know he had no friends there but here he is moving to martin luther king's
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home town. okay, so they have a name now. eric galt. they are really trying to press this mean and they go to all the hotels and motels in the memphis area and try to find out if anyone named eric galt stevan enzus arnove the time of his assassination. and sure enough, they find this place, the motor hotel on the outskirts of months, a guy named eric galt stayed and checked in with a white mustang on april 3rd the night before the assassination. this is his registration card and noting that he lives at all to 608 highland avenue in birmingham alabama. but notice he mentions mccardle in alabama license plates. there with me one second.
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okay. so meanwhile other fbi agents go out all over the south jogging to find out any other eric galt chicken to any other hotels and they did find out that on march march 22nd eric galt checked into the flamingo hotel in selma, alabama, which was significant really only because they found out that very night martin luther king had been scheduled to give a talk there and began to seem he was sort of beginning to cross paths with martin luther king whoever this eric galt was. they began to do more investigating and found that he had applied for a license in the state of alabama, that he was a merchant marine, unemployed who. they found out that he had stayed in this place on
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highland, and yes indeed they remembered that a eric galt had lived there. while he was there he also sent off for some camera equipment, which from a mail-order company in chicago and they began to wonder what is up with all this camera equipment but they later found out that he had briefly doubled in the idea of being a born director and this was all just part of a scheme he had to get into the quorum who business. meanwhile other agents of tried to find this white mustang and its two weeks after the assassinations defined it in alabama. but mustang, this is pictures of the card just hours before it's been impounded. they also found it has this sticker which indicated whoever
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had been driving and had recently been in mexico. thousands of agents go all over mexico trying to find out someone ever stay down there leading to the assassination and sure enough the found at the hotel rio and the registration card for eric and he called themselves malae publisher come ex-da, publisher employed. i'm not sure what that means crete he somehow in the publishing business now. but he's again living at 2608 highlight ave. they found out that he had been frequenting prostitutes and one in particular had gotten to know him quite well and had taken a picture of him and this is the picture she had to offer some other is a second photograph his eyes may or may not be shot, but again, the year beginning at least to get some images to work with. okay, separate from all this there's a group of fingerprint
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analysts in washington, d.c. who are comparing this fingerprint taken from him the beer can and the rifle and various other artifacts in the bundle comparing them piece by piece, one by one with the fingerprint of every known fugitive in the united states, the process that takes possibly months, they get a direct match several weeks and the process with an escaped fugitive from azeri and james earl ray. now they're realizing they are not looking for john willard or harvey lowmeyer or eric galt, they are looking for one guy and his real name is james earl ray so they go back and find a lot of images of his criminal past. they learned little about his biography and then a pause for a moment because they see this
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number 416 come 00416 and they realize the number on the radio makes sense and this is a radio he purchased in prison the day before he escaped from a maximum-security prison in missouri. he had to have this number stamped ns sort of indelible stamp on the housing that shows your present id number so that is what the 416 was about, but by this point, he was gone, he was in canada living in this house in toronto and working on getting a new alias for himself. people said he was that unsophisticated from a sort of conspiracy to get these ideas, that in canada the expression was welcome to canada, we trust you. all she really had to do was what he did here. he went to the back issues of the newspaper, found the birth notices of people born in his year and based on the various
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information he has here he applied to the registrar of birth and got a duplicate birth certificates and this name of ramon and they gave it to him straight away on the basis of that that was all that was required was this duplicate to get a passport. so now he has a passport and gets an air ticket to london because by this point in well-publicized they're looking for james earl ray he knows he has got to get out of north america, and not clear exactly where he gets the money he talks about robbing a grocery store, talks about various other stickups he may or may not have done and somehow she scrapes the money to get at least to london. this is the ticket from toronto to london. he then goes immediately to portugal to get to portugal the idea is he wants to hook up with mercenary groups come and get on a ship to go to angola and the
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problem is he doesn't speak the language, he doesn't know the culture. he is running out of ideas, so he goes back to london and now he is really running out of ideas, he robs a jewelry store, robs a bank, he is trying to get to johannesburg or salzburg and when they find him he has this on on him which is a time table with plans to the south africa and they also found this book which is a sort of overview guide to rhodesia. they also found a loaded revolver which he had in his pocket. i guess times were different back then you to the board a plane and with a loaded revolver no problem and in fact when they caught him they didn't really make a big deal about it they just wanted to know if he had a permit for the gun and they asked him why do you need a gun? what's your story? he said i'm going to rhodesia and things are difficult down
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there and they basically accepted his story but, you know, they said we've compared your fingerprints and they actually compared fingerprints with those of james earl ray and they finally said you are james earl ray. he vociferously vehemently denied that he was. no, i am ramon. you've got me mixed up with this other guy and james earl ray. i don't know who this guy is. his lawyer in london said you know, look, you're going to be here for a while, how can i help you, i know that you're not james earl. he says yes, they've got me mixed up with this guy, but i would really appreciate it if you could get in contact with my brother. well, sure. who's your brother? how can i help? with his name? >> hatari horray. not realizing that the identity bled into each other at that point. he insisted for a month or more that he was snade.
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he called himself search ramon snade. he leaves his extradition hearing and is flown back to memphis aboard a chartered air force jet where he stands trial and is about to go to trial when he plea-bargain said mrs. some 150 points of fact saying he did pull the trigger and brought the scope and ammunition and all this evidence - sharing you. yes, that was my getaway car that you saw me in and says he's given a life sentence. only three days later he recounted part of his testimony saying all that stuff is true except for one thing. i didn't pull the trigger there was a mysterious guy named raul who pulled the trigger. which opened up an internal contract theory and for ideas about who is this guy? but he spent the rest of his life in prison except for one little moment i don't want to give away too much of the end of
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the book, but he does break out one more time of another -- from another maximum security prison. this time in tennessee, fairly ingeniously she is out in the mountains for three days until he finally caught by bloodhounds. the lorain motel which is, you know, a great source of embarrassment to memphis and most of memphis wanted to get rid of it, they were embarrassed and ashamed and fortified by this place before word of leading thinkers of memphis black-and-white got together and said this is part of our history. this is important that we honor this place. it has become the national civil rights museum and is a probably the most frequented place after, welcome after graceland in memphis. and it is a beautiful place and sort of a -- well, a place people come to try to reckon with history, try to figure out what happened here, was there a conspiracy? was there not a conspiracy?
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try to figure out a different side lines and go to the plot house, which is now also part of the museum to try to figure out what exactly happened. so i would like to hear from you any questions you might have about this project and hawaii researched it and what these different things come together. i don't know if it was mentioned, but book tv is here with us tonight, they are taping this, so any questions you do have, if you could make sure that you speak into the microphone and that you're clearly heard not just for my benefit but everyone here in the audience and for the television audience. and i do want to welcome the audience from booktv and look forward to hearing from you. front and center. >> yes. you've indicated the means of income was probably robbing
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banks and so on and so forth. were there other means of income was he receiving money from other persons? >> the person of his income is probably the central question of coal case and his fugitive because he got around, clearly and i looked into it as much as i possibly could. he says he was involved in smuggling schemes and financing schemes and he told one journalist that he sold a bunch of pot and other drugs. he had been a while in prison a merchant of amphetamines and saved up some money. the fbi believed that he and his brothers robbed a bank and illinois about two months after he escaped from the prison that netted $30,000. anything else is guesswork but i think it's possible that he hooked up with some bounty on 02b6's life -- king's life. whether he got paid in full i
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highly doubt it, because he wouldn't have tried to rob this grocery store in toronto and the jewelry store in london and he finally robbed a bank in london and thus exposed himself in this way if he had been part of a well-founded conspiracy. on the other side of the ledger, you have to realize that he lived really, really frugal except for a few things like the dancing lessons and the $250 nose job that he got a month before the assassination. he was living in these golf full house's most leading in his room, you know, with an immersion heater and the dried soups and powdered food is like that. so, he wasn't living high on the hall let's put it that way. but it's a good question and i don't have the answers. i leave a lot of stores open resources and money might have come from. i think that his brother's were certainly aiding and abetting him and perhaps funneling money to him.
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so many steps along the way you see an element of desperation with the old james earl ray and the criminal is coming to the floor where he did rash and stupid things, desperate things to get, finally get to canada and finally get to london. it doesn't feel like a super sophisticated conspiracy to me at least. thanks for your question though. yes, sir, in the very middle of the room. hang on one second. >> thank you for coming to the free library and your previous books blood and thunder which i enjoyed. would you talk a little bit about he was picked up at the airport and, in inclined someone recognize him for the robbery or had his pictures been circulated so that he was identified as james earl ray, the killer? >> you want me to give away the
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books, don't you? i can tell you this, they figured out that he had gone to toronto to get an alias and so basically the fbi asked canadian mounted police to examine every passport application that had been received on of after the assassination and to serve a single out every photograph that looked even remotely like james earl ray, and there was a constable like 21-years-old who found this passport photo and said that could be james earl ray. i will put it in the pile. this is the picture that he saw. if james earl ray had glasses and, you know, it's hard to say. we will put it in the possible final and found out there was a guy named ramon snade and the town of never in his life he applied for a passport so he
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found that this was a fraud and fraudulent passport so they called all of the travel agents in toronto and found out a guy named ramon had gone to london said they called scotland yard and had them put what was called and all port warning on this guy so the person that stopped him was a customs officer that had no idea he was wanted for the killing of martin luther king. all he knew was the passport was fraudulent and he was to be detained and questioned. so the short answer -- is actually more complexity to it. but he is detained and questioned and the guy of course who questions and asks a are you james earl ray? no, and ramon snade. what kind of fame is that any way? but he stuck by that story about a month and a half until he finally admitted in memphis that he was james earl ray.
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yes, sir right here. >> other than the drama of cheesing this man down halfway across the world, what about the personality? did you study and did you talk about the psychology of this man and since it wasn't a conspiracy based on philosophical and racist reasons directly why was he so committed, there would be an interesting approach. >> i really wondered about it because you kind inhabit this guy's world for three years. we wonder who he really is and it's not as satisfying as i would like to be. i would like there to be this magical a penny we're all i understood him. but i think that all of us look for some sort of a rational explanation for what is fundamentally an irrational and in san act of violence. i think when you really get with him is not so much a single motivation as a cluster of sob
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motivations. he had some mental illness which was accentuated by years of amphetamine use. he was a racist and while in prison he to talk to fellow inmates how martin luther cohen as he called him was going to be his retirement plan and he examined the kennedy assassination and talked about the mistakes that all small made and how he would improve upon them and not make those mistakes he was a racist but is that enough by itself to exploit him? no. yeah, he wanted to emigrate to rhodesia, yes, he was a big george wallace fan and was volunteering for the campaign of 1968. john bircher, he was a reactionary kind of in the view, but that's not to be enough to explain him. i think the biggest explanation was really his unhappiness and sort of desperation in the
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months leading up to the assassination where you see that he is just reaching out desperately to find something, some sort of meaning, some sort of purpose in his life. he's doing bartending school, the dancing lessons, he goes and takes a locksmith course, gets the nose job, self hypnosis, there's a bunch of her shrinks and then he starts reading these self-help books. one in particular that was found on this person when he was caught in london called psycho cybernetics which talks endlessly and i read this book and there you to read it, it is a horrific reading of the purpose of the book is to show basically it says the find meaning in life you have to have a goal to aim for and to assure that and he talks about a person being a torpedo and being able lit, talks about a person being this sort of bowles seeking mechanism, and i do believe on a profound level, and i'm not a shrinking and i don't entertain any kind of a psychology here,
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but i do show this book and i show what it says and how influential that clearly was in his life and you sort of mix all of these sub motivations together and you begin to get a sense of james earl ray. but he's very mysterious, very enigmatic, has a lost soul and throughout american history, you know, it isn't this magical explanation why did it for this reason because he screwed up, because he's lost, he did it because he is taking literally some of the chatter that he's hearing out there in the air waves i should go kill martin luther king in the add to that within the family he service to the ambitious one, the weather was going to do big things. as a lawyer, businessman and i don't know what this family, sort of like darryl and my other brother, darryl, not exactly the family that you associated with
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ambition but within the family he was the one the was going to do the big things. so why he did it, but it is fundamentally and answerable question i think. >> if he was or is as you describe him, why wouldn't he have boasted about having killed king? i'm the one who killed this man. within that satisfied the character that you just described? he was married briefly to a woman. always in prison like some woman who gravitates towards someone on death row. but she married him and was in love with him and the had conjugal visits and then about a year later he confessed to her yes i killed the son of a bitch, was it and she divorced him. he boasted to several other people that he had done it, but
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he also was a savvy kind sister wife character and understood the wavell worked and understood the chase. i believe that he loved being orchestrating this chase that went on for 65 days and essentially since the rest of his time orchestrating the legal case. there was a prison shrink who said he had the delight of this idea where he was most happy is when he was confusing people, and you know, baffling people. people trying to help him like his own lawyers. one of his lawyers told me in birmingham that you could always tell the only time you could tell when he was telling the truth, excuse me, when he was lying, his lips were moving on and that's so true. he would send out the signals throughout his whole career.
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i describe him as a kind of like a squid whose courts of this cloud, juneau, and try to figure out what is he saying? is elon and her, telling the truth, is their part of what he's saying that is true? by the time you think you've got an answer he's changed, he's gone, he's changed his name, his location, he's changed his story. he's a pathological liar. went to his grave with secrets and i think in some ways he's struggling now that people like me and others are trying to figure out what was he up to? so, you know, yes, you'd think he would have boasted to a lot more people than just some inner circle of his, but in the end, no. i think the confusion that she put out into the world was what animated him and excited him and explained as much as we can understand in his persona. >> in the middle.
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>> it seems like as much as jay edgar hoover despised martin luther king after the assassination he was very, very committed that it was almost an affront to hoover that if anybody was going to destroy king it would be him. can you speak to that briefly? thank you. >> yeah. well, you know, he to the king. there's no question about it. the field agents had done everything they could possibly do to ruben him and smear him and sabotage the movement and eavesdrop and all that stuff. absolutely true and right ankle but just on that subject of why king upset him and infuriated him so much. but once the assassination happened, the fbi was under such
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an enormous amount of pressure to solve this case. pressure coming from lyndon johnson, pressure coming especially from randy clark, the attorney general of the united states who is a huge admirer of king and who was his boss although some people say that he didn't really have a boss. you have to remember that there were over 150 different wrong it's going on around the country. this manhunt was going on against a nation on five-year to eventually, and people had to, you know, people have to realize no matter what the political persuasions might be of some of these individual field agents out there that solving this crime was a paramount national importance. hoover didn't want to get involved at first. he wanted to the local case, memphis police department. it became clear this was an international case that the assassin had fled to another
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state, maybe another country. this was the biggest assassination that happened in the country with kennedy. cindy and there was no question and once the fbi gets involved in the jobs they are supposed to be doing, mainly solving crimes and doing police work and detective work i found out, you know, they really did do their job. the level of police work, the level of the sort of shoe leather that was expended, the man hours but were falsely pursued in addition to the ones that handout the number of agents, the number of miles, the largest manhunt in history at that point, and there's no question in my mind that the fbi did their job and it was exciting in a way to see them actually doing this instead of trying to ruin king and his movement they are actually trying and in an ironic way that
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hoover -- this agency was responsible for finding his killer. in the and it was a great source of embarrassment that they didn't find him, that was scotland yard that got him and, you know, he didn't like to give him credit for it, but that's hoover for you. yes, sir. >> thank you very much. to what extent was this a well thought out plan reverses i get the sense from what you are talking on the presentation that he went out and bought the gun just a few days before hand to buy the binoculars a few hours before hand. it seems like i don't know what to do tonight, maybe i will see a movie or a sesame dr. king. he's capable of great and methodical coming plotting as
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breaking out of a maximum-security prison. the local news and what's going on dnieper succeeding when he got to atlanta he bought some maps of atlanta they were later found it entered into evidence that he circled ken's house, king's church, office, he was plotting king's bald but was frustrating because king was never at home. he was always traveling especially now drumming up support for his poor people campaign. to begin first reading if i'm going to do this going to intersect in some way, the obvious, the local papers, the atlanta constitution reported that king was going back to memphis after the violent march that happened he had to go back and redeem himself and do this
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second march and they announced in march was likely going to be and when he was going back to memphis and who would be there. so it gave him some time to think and plan and, you know, begin to think how do i intersect with this guy? once he got to memphis there was page one of the commercial appeal. he is there at the lorraine motel so i do think there is an erratic nature to his movement, and he is planning kind of a long-term sense but he's also very much influenced by his immediate -- the news coming in over his radio and the new is coming over his portable television and the news he is reading from the papers. he was a news junkie constantly reading the papers and that is where he got his ideas, but this sort of like coming to rhodesia i'm sure he's read about rhodesia in the papers but didn't connect the dots very well. he had this idea just go over there and embraced him and hook up with these guys but what ever
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horrible race they might have been over there directly professionals they were not just going to embrace this stranger from america and he never was able to connect the dots very well, things like that. but thanks for your question. yes? we have time for at least one more question. anybody else? >> he has made it to martin luther king's sons but he didn't assassinate king what is it about that statement? >> well, shortly before he died, dexter king had come to meet with him and he asked him did
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you kill my dad? she said no, i didn't. and that's the story that sort of made the waters, but after that, he said you see is complicated, these things are very complicated, and that was a classic ray. everything had a sort of fast breaks. if he didn't kill king, why did he say that? if he did kill him, why did he plea-bargain and say that he did and then leader three days later say it's this guy that actually did it. that is just classic ray. nothing was clear. that is what i'm talking about. i think that the king family very understandably wanted a trial, the trial because there was never a trial. there was a plea-bargain. and so, the evidence was presented, but not in an open adversarial way that you hope from a criminal proceeding. so understandably that is what
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they wanted, and i think that some members of the family were convinced he was innocent or at least part of a larger conspiracy and in a way i am convinced that he was part of a crude conspiracy the conspiracy of more than one person for sure but whether they found comforting that or closure in that it's hard for me to know, but for me it was kind of a testament to the kind of a final testament that he was able to convince people that this guy role existed and when we never have seen a photograph, never seen the address, we don't know if he looked like, there's never been a witness who has ever seen this guy in the same room with ray and that was enough of the inner circle and some certain members of the king family shows i think the element of the pi


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